404 Error Message

A 404 error message is the page you see when you are trying to find a webpage that doesn’t exist or that was deleted.  As a webmaster, you want to make sure that visitors don’t commonly hit 404 pages, because that is going to harm your SEO, and it will also annoy your visitors.

Some consultants recommend using a 301 redirect whenever you have a 404 error (which can have the effect of sending someone from a page that doesn’t exist to a page that does exist, like the homepage).  Personally, I find it annoying when I try to visit a webpage that I believe is there, and I get randomly sent to another page that I didn’t ask for.

In my opinion, you should create a fun, custom 404 page that shows how creative you are, and only use a 301 redirect on broken pages if you need to preserve your link juice, or if you are getting lots of inbound traffic to the page for some reason.